Conquering Life’s Uncertainties

Posted on: May 27, 2024

Writen by: Mary Rose Javier

Melanie Tepora is preparing karioka (deep-fried coconut rice balls), a new addition to the range of rice cakes she sells. As her business progresses, she also enhances her skills and knowledge in this field of rice delicacies.

Melanie Tepora, 60, from Indang, Cavite, believes that business success is more than just daily earnings or customer counts; it is also the personal development of one’s knowledge and perspective on life.

Melanie only completed elementary school due to a lack of finances. At a young age, she decided to help her parents and quit school to not add to the expenses.

Before achieving success in the rice delicacy business, she started her entrepreneurial journey as a vendor in Pasay, Manila. Alongside her husband, Antonio Tepora, they buy and sell fruits, vegetables, and various items from Baclaran.

She also tried selling a variety of dishes but had to stop after experiencing crossed eyes caused by excessive fatigue and prolonged exposure to the heat of cooking. Despite enduring this for four months, she recovered and became even more resilient. She becomes more ready to confront any challenge life presents to her.

Her sweet journey started when she brought kalamay (sticky rice cake with muscovado sugar), suman (sweetened glutinous rice steamed in banana leaves), and biko (chewy rice cake made with coconut milk, and dark sugar) to Pasay, where she did not expect significant sales.

“I am not ashamed to sell anything as I need to provide for my children. I will sell any product so we can have food every day. I will never forget how happy I was the first time I sold kakanin and it sold out immediately,” said Melanie.

Her youngest son was just two years old when she decided to venture into selling rice cakes. Alongside her husband, they diligently acquired ingredients. Their perseverance helped them generate enough income to meet their family’s needs.

Melanie did not let the pandemic hinder her business. While others stayed home without work, the couple continued cooking food, gradually selling it in their area.

“We found greater success during the pandemic because we decided to face this life challenge. Stopping is not an option because we constantly prioritize our children,” she said.

To continue the success of her sweet business, she considered joining CARD SME Bank, Inc., a full-fledged thrift bank, to get a loan that they used for additional capital.

“We were the first clients of CARD SME Bank in our area. Its support has been invaluable, as we turn to it whenever we require financial assistance. I utilized all my loans to purchase fruits and ingredients, as they come at a high cost,” she said.

While her husband focused on selling fruits, Melanie continued selling rice delicacies. With their unwavering determination, they managed to save enough money to construct a home and provide education for their children.

For 20 years, Melanie has expanded her business, customer base, and expertise in cooking rice cakes. What started as a simple idea has blossomed into the ability to make various types of kakanin.

Melanie’s success in her journey results from her unwavering determination and relentless effort to persevere through life’s uncertainties.

“We can always change the course of our lives. As long as we have strength, let’s not waste it sitting and lying down. Instead, let’s embrace the courage to fight for our families and dreams,” Melanie concluded.